Intolerance – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

Intolerance is an attitude and behavior that consists of not respecting what we do not like or that is different from our own preferences. It is a fact that usually occurs especially in people who are very politically or religiously biased.

Intolerance is a concept with negative implications. It supposes that a person does not respect the tastes, preferences, ideology, identity, sexuality, nationality or ethnicity of other people.

Intolerance is a danger to coexistence. This is built through tolerance, respect, and good education, which in turn are also the elements that constitute a civic society.

It is also worth noting that global intolerance, taking the planet as a whole as a subject, should be less and less. This, due to the globalization that we have experienced for a few years and that is increasing.

We must also highlight the elimination of some non-democratic regimes and the expansion of democracy as a form of government. Finally, another factor that has helped to reduce intolerance is migration. The labor need to emigrate to other countries has helped improve coexistence between people of different nationalities.

Although not everything is good news, there are still entire societies that are very intolerant of those who go outside the accepted guidelines. We find extreme situations in countries that penalize homosexuality. Or in those in which ethnic and religious minorities are persecuted and subjected.

Consequences of intolerance

We can say that intolerance is a matrix feeling, that is, that behaviors as undesirable as discrimination derive from it. We mainly find the following types:

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  • Racism: It supposes the discrimination and even persecution of those whose ethnicity is different from the one who discriminates. Traditionally, blacks have suffered it against whites. The most relevant examples are found in the segregation suffered in the United States until the middle of the 20th century. Or in the periods of slavery they have suffered throughout history at the hands of numerous civilizations.
  • Xenophobia: This refers to the intolerance of the foreigner, who does not belong to our nation. It is very similar to the previous case, but it is substantially different. Xenophobia does not discriminate against the ethnically different as long as he has the nationality of his own country.
  • homophobia: Implies discrimination against homosexuals, or those who distance themselves from the traditional male-female couple. It has consequences as savage as criminal punishment in some countries. In others, like Iran, it is punishable by death.


Intolerance can be practiced from the institutions or by the population itself. As examples of intolerance from government authorities we have several examples. One of them, perhaps the most paradigmatic, is the case of the Third Reich, whose intolerance extended to a very large number of people: Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Russians, etc. To the point of pursuing their extermination, tried through what we know as the Holocaust.

Instead, we have other cases in which intolerance has been and is practiced by the population. And there are many cases of it. For example, the racist insults suffered by some players during a sporting event. Or the beatings and harassment suffered by some people from the LGTBI community. Or the non-hiring of foreigners for some jobs.

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